Charles Town Requests 15 Fewer Dates in '23

Charles Town | Coady

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Charles Town Races on Tuesday was approved for a reduction of 15 dates for 2023 compared to its 2022 allotment, with the understanding that the 164-program schedule could be revisited mid-year to include additional dates if finances warrant extra racing.

The awarding of race dates in West Virginia is a somewhat confusing several-step process bound by a state statute that requires Charles Town to apply for 220 programs every year. The state's other Thoroughbred track, Mountaineer Park, is required to apply for 210 dates.

But what has ended up happening in recent seasons is that after the initial approvals of 220 and 210 dates by the West Virginia Racing Commission (WVRC), both venues have subsequently come back before the commission to ask for reductions that reflect what each track and its respective Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association (HBPA) think is a workable schedule based on available purse funds.

At the Nov. 14 WVRC meeting, Mountaineer was granted additional approval to reduce its schedule to 124 dates in 2023, a six-program cutback from the 130 that the track was awarded in 2022.

Also at that Nov. 14 meeting, WVRC executive director Joe Moore noted that Charles Town was approved for 179 programs in 2022.

But at the Dec. 20 meeting, Moore said that Charles Town ended up racing just 173 dates because of cancellations during the 2022 season just completed Dec. 17.

So prior to the 3-0 unanimous vote by commissioners Tuesday, Charles Town's revised 164-date request was framed by Moore as a nine-date reduction based on the actual number of programs.

But as per the 179-date allotment he had previously stated in November, it's a parsing of 15 cards.

“The request comes with the agreement [by] the racetrack and the HBPA that they will meet in July to revisit their live race schedule and their available purse monies to assess whether there is a possibility of adding any days towards the end of the calendar year,” Moore said.

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